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Sept. 19, 2007

The 12th-ranked South Carolina Gamecock football team practiced for a little over two hours on Wednesday at the Bluff Road practice fields. The Gamecocks are continuing preparations for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. ET showdown with No. 2 LSU in Baton Rouge. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.

One new injury was reported on Wednesday. Freshman Cliff Matthews, who is penciled in as the probable starter at outside linebacker, suffered a right hand injury in Tuesday’s practice and was in a yellow “no contact” jersey on Wednesday. “Cliff cracked a tiny bone in his hand,” said Head Coach Steve Spurrier. “He’s going to try to play (Saturday) with one of those rubber casts or something on his hand.”

Backup quarterback Chris Smelley has been able to practice more over the last two days and should be ready to go on Saturday if needed. “He got a lot (of work in this week). He and (starting quarterback) Blake (Mitchell) split it up this week.” Mitchell had a better practice on Wednesday according to the Head Ball Coach. “He threw some good ones today. He understands that he has to play better.” Defensive back Brandon Isaac is now listed as questionable for Saturday’s game after spraining his right shoulder last Saturday. “He could go in there a little bit, not too much probably.”

“Hopefully we can rise to the occasion,” said Coach Spurrier of his offensive line. “Sometimes our guys have risen to the occasion and block a little bit better. Hopefully our line will do a decent job this week. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Offensive guard James Thompson returns to the active roster this week after being suspended for the first three weeks of the season. He has looked “about like always,” according to Coach Spurrier. “He hasn’t played much since he’s been here, but he’ll probably get his chance in there.”

The Gamecocks will be back on the practice fields on Thursday afternoon.